Secret Buddy Best Practices for the Crafter

As the fall approaches, many of us are probably confronted with a secret buddy program. These programs generally vary in lengths depending on how often the participating group meets, but they all usually have a requirement that gifts cost under $10. What a boon for the crafter! So many items can be made for a couple of dollars and easily tailored to the recipient. Of course, the very next thought in the crafting mind is, “But they’ll know it’s me!”

The seasoned crafter has been through this many a time, completely fearful of making anything that might reveal who they are but wanting so much to make the dozen ideas that have already passed through their mind. Fortunately, from personal experience and shared stories, I have gathered a few ways that other crafters have gotten around this situation.

1. Teach others techniques and projects. I thought I was in trouble this summer during a Secret Buddy program. I have been making friendship bracelets for most of my life and have picked up some more complex patterns and developed some of my own. So when I sat down to make a bracelet, I was positive I would be found out. Fortunately, others saw me working and begged to be shown how to make the pattern. In the time span of a week, I had taught two people who went on to teach others. The agreement was that those I taught had to say they just picked it up from somewhere. With so many people making the pattern, attention was deflected away from me.

For another crafter, the solution came in her group’s yearly theme. They were doing various craft projects that recycled trash into things of beauty. She taught or developed the programming, and as such was able to pass on techniques she later used to make her Secret Buddy’s gifts.

2. It’s all about the packaging. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve seen this one pulled off, I wouldn’t be paying off student loans right now. A gifted crafter creates an item, and then finds the packaging for a similar, professionally sold item and puts their item in the packaging. The recipient is none the wiser.

3. Labelling is you friend. This goes along with the above suggestion and includes a gratefulness that Made in China stickers aren’t often put on with a strong adhesive. I just learned this one the other day and knew I had to include it. One clever crafter found a Made in China sticker and affixed it to her item. Again, the recipient never suspected.

4. Create an artist alias. One crafter, to prevent being caught, has taken one of the more common misreadings of her name to sign her work. Since her group is unfamiliar with this name, she still gets to create without fear of being caught.

5.Become an actress or actor. There is nothing more validating than to see the recipient proudly showing off their latest gift, simply gushing over its cleverness or its beauty. The key here is to look inquisitive and impressed by the artist’s work without letting on that you did it.

These are just a few suggestions. If you have any others, feel free to add them in the comments.

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